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I think my Cold-Eeze lozenges gave me a migraine aura

By March 9, 2010 - 2:46pm
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I wanted to tell you about something odd and sort of scary that happened to me this weekend. First, a short and sweet history. I used to swear by Zicam for warding off colds and/or making colds shorter, but I noticed a correlation between taking the Zicam and a huge increase in migraine auras. I'm in the minority who don't get migraine pain with the auras when they do happen, but it's still a pain in the patoot to deal with them when I'm out and about as I can't see to drive and must pull over, etc.

I found Cold-Eeze lozenges a few months ago and even though one of the ingredients is the same as Zicam I decided to give them a try. Both products contain homeopathic versions of what I believe to be a form of zinc--Zicam has 2 and Cold-Eeze has 1 (Zincum Gluconicum 2x).

For a couple of months I took them now and then to help stay healthy and did fine. But then my 4-year-old caught a bad cold and I took a lot more Cold-Eeze in an effort to stay well. I never took more than the label suggested though; maybe 4-5 a day at most in the last week.

This last Sunday I was out with my boys doing errands and all of the sudden I was hit with a migraine aura. My first thought was that it was the Cold-Eeze lozenges and that they apparently didn't agree with me after all. The aura wasn't too bad though and after waiting for it to go away we went to the grocery store. I felt out of it while I was shopping (typical for a post-aura experience for me), and so I texted my hubby to tell him what was going on and that we'd be home soon.

That's where it started getting weird. Try as I might, I could not spell out the words to the text. Well, most of them. I managed to spell out "mental acuity", as in "I have lost my mental acuity" but I could not spell "spell" or "these" or a bunch of other really basic and simple words. I tried really hard to remember how to spell them but I couldn't. I had to ask my 12-year-old son to help me spell the text and boy did that ever make him wonder what was up with his Mom! I realized that it was probably the migraine aura having a funky effect on some area of my brain, but it was still weird. Fortunately within about 5-10 minutes I was able to spell and write again--I had my son give me a spelling bee quiz in the car on the way home and I got the words right--but when I went back later and checked the text that I sent it was filled with errors.

I went upstairs to lie down in bed and I felt more like myself after about 30 minutes. And I will never ever take Cold-Eeze or Zicam again. But what I'm not getting is what it is about the active ingredient Zincum Gluconicum 2x that could do this, and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever had this experience--either with these cold remedies causing auras/migraines or with an aura/migraine causing an inability to write or spell.

Thank you for your help and feedback!

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm not a migraine sufferer but upon just trying these, I noticed a strange taste in my mouth. A vaguely sweet (not like the lozenge) and drool-y feeling similar to minutes before I have to vomit. Then the strange onset of a headache. Maybe the flood of zinc ions is too much. I noticed my stomach got quite upset too.

November 13, 2014 - 3:02pm
EmpowHER Guest

I haven't been able to find anything, but here, but I have not experienced any migraines in over a year and my roommate suggested the cold eeze lozenges when I got sick a few days ago and I woke up with an aura followed by a full blown migraine both times after taking them. Also, I feel as though I am having trouble not only spelling, but it is an effort to read and I haven't taken nearly as much as the poster. Perhaps, for those of us who are migraine sufferers, the ingredients affect us quite negatively.

March 22, 2013 - 5:43am

Wow! Anonymous, thank you so much for writing! You are the first person to know exactly what this is like--isn't it creepy when suddenly you can't spell? Have you also had the migraines/headaches also? Alison S.

July 22, 2010 - 10:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

Funny that I should stumble upon this. I have been taking Cold-eeze Lozenges for the last few days because I have felt the onset of a cold coming on. Yesterday, I was typing a note and couldn't spell the word "maybe". It took me 5 minutes, spelling a million different ways. I thought it was just a "moment" but now after reading this, I'm wondering if the two are connected.

July 19, 2010 - 2:16pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Alison

Thanks for this question - it's really interesting. I have found none of the side effects you speak of in my search. Mainly it's nausea, diarrhea and problems with being able to smell properly.

You do seem to be taking a lot of lozenges though and side effects to zinc can be quite serious. Taking 5 a day everyday for a week might be way too much zinc in your system, especially if you're also getting zinc from your diet. Are you a meat, chicken and fish eater?

I'd like to look into this a little more so give us a few days and I'll see what I can come up with. Meanwhile, I'd stay away from lozenges for now.

I hope this stops for you, it really is a bit weird, as you said!

March 10, 2010 - 2:53pm
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